Fervent Cane Toad Culling in Australia

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Cane toads, once regarded as beneficial pest-eating animals, are being rounded up and killed by the thousands in Australia, according to Sunrise on Channel 7.

The amphibians, which prey on insects, are native to Central America and South America. They were brought to Australia to help get rid of beetles, but that turned out to be a bad idea, since they are now proliferating at an uncontrollable rate.

The toads are now considered to be an invasive species, and many Australians want them gone. There's even a Toad Day Out event in North Queensland that allows the public to gather as many of the animals as they can. The toads must be captured alive and unharmed, but officials kill them later.

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The event encourages schoolchildren to be competitive, with prizes given to the school that captures the most toads, and to individuals that capture the heaviest toad and the heaviest total weight of toads. Based on the videos I've seen, the animals are often tossed into buckets, so that they are piled one on top of another.

Queensland politician Shane Knuth believes that the cull is justified.

"They're one of the most destructive creatures and the most disgusting creatures and one thing they're doing is they're killing our native wildlife and they're taking over our habitat," Knuth told BBC News.

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The same report says "there are signs" that the toads "may have started spreading from Queensland down into New South Wales." Apparently, scientists have been trying various methods to eradicate the toads but have failed. Officials are now allowing the public to participate in the effort.

I hope they don't introduce another nonnative animal to eat the toads.